Variation between different Marshall heads

Discussion in 'Amp Central Station' started by Antigua Tele, Nov 4, 2019.

  1. codamedia

    codamedia Friend of Leo's

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    Gain, gain, and more gain.... combined with how they achieve it.

    IMO... each series added more and more gain. The JMP MV Marshall is "more or less" a Super Lead with a Master Volume... but by the time the JMP MV MKII came out they were cascading gain stages on both the 50 and 100 watt models. This ultimately became the flagship of the JCM800 line. The JCM900 added more gain than the 800, and it kept going from there.

    A JCM900 does not sound like a JCM800 to me... just as the JCM800 does not sound like a Super Lead, commonly referred to as a PLEXI.

    I know it's unfair... but I lose interest in Marshalls beyond the JCM800 era.
     
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  2. Wally

    Wally Telefied Ad Free Member

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    Fwiw, without model numbers, the JCM 800 and 900 series references mean very little. Ex: I have never heard a 21xx,25xx JCM 900, which is almost all tube. I have heard the JCM 900 high gain dual reverb, which is The 41xx/45xx model iirc. These high gain dual reverbs are nothing at all like any Marshall amp that came before...they are full of solid state processing and they sound like they process signal to a large extent in the solid state world. there are 14 or 15 models in the JCM 800 series with changes to some of the models that differentiate them from earlier amps with the same model number. as far as I know, the one Marshall amp that maintained its circuit throughout the JTM, JMP, and JCM eras is the Md. 1959 Super Lead.
    iF a person wants to truly understand the difference between marshall amps, model numbers are important, imho....much more so than the series designation. When some says they have or they like a JCM 800 or JCM 900, I have to ask them:
    “which model?”
     
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  3. David Barnett

    David Barnett Doctor of Teleocity

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    That's not old school. Old School Marshall has four-inputs.
     
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  4. Antigua Tele

    Antigua Tele Friend of Leo's

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    One thing which I don't understand is why pre-amp, pre-power tube gain still generally sounds better than any distortion pedal. With amp gain, it seems you can alternate between clean and break up with a volume control or volume medal, but with a distortion pedal, this seems to be less true, and the quality of the break up seems less "organic" for lack of a better term. But even with the "clipping diode" / mountain of op-amps in the JCM-900 Hi Gain Dual Reverb sound a lot better than a stomp box running into the amp clean, and I have like twenty of them to choose from, too. Amp attenuation makes sense, because you're pushing the power tubes and reducing the output voltage, but I can't grasp what the difference is between stomp boxes and low voltage pre amp gain. I've tried a couple tube based outboard distortion pedals / units, I didn't feel that they really brought the magic, either.

    Also, I see some people trashing solid state rectifiers, but from I was told by my amp guy, mostly what that impacts is the "sag", or lack thereof, which isn't even necessarily a desirable quality, as compare to power tube break up. He replaced the tube recitifer in my Bassman with a diode based version, and the amp still sounds killer, maybe more so. If a Marshall has a solid state rectifier, I personally wouldn't count that as a ding against it.
     
  5. Wally

    Wally Telefied Ad Free Member

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    What one likes is what one likes, ime. solid state rectifiers.....imho, the choice of rectification Is not part of my delineation between solid state and tube processing since a rectifier does not process sound. The rectifier merely rectifies the Ac into Dc voltage. The GZ34 is as close as one can get to solid state rectification...unless one uses 2 x GZ34. Rectifier sag is not something that I look for in a higher watt amp. Solid state provides that solid hit and better articulation in high gain situations. i can understand wanting SS rectification in a big, high gain amp.
     
  6. muchxs

    muchxs Doctor of Teleocity

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    Been around long enough I know what an "old school" Marshall is. Hell, one of the first amps I worked on when I was a young feller was an original JTM45.

    That JTM45 is right where it was 50 years ago.

    If you want extra inputs I have a variety of drills, step drills and punches.
     
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  7. knockeduptele

    knockeduptele Tele-Meister

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    Anybody ever seen a jack plugged into anything other than top left?
     
  8. David Barnett

    David Barnett Doctor of Teleocity

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    [​IMG]
     
  9. 63 vibroverb

    63 vibroverb Tele-Holic

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    The JCM 900 MkIII is a really good amp that kind of went under the radar. It's basically a JCM800 with an added diode in the front end (like a built-in od/boost pedal) - very similar to the Jubilee. The nice thing is you can turn the second gain control all the way down so that you have no diodes in the signal if you want a more bare 800 tone. If you want a good compromise between an 800 and a Jubilee, the MkIII is it. They made 50 watt and 100 watt versions. Much different than the more common Dual Reverb and SLX 900s.

    All that said, even though the amps you mentioned are not really worshipped/loved, I've listened to beautiful music made thru those amps. And I've heard tasteless noise made on vintage legendary amps.

    Marshalls aren't really my cup of tea anymore these days, but it would be nice to try a JTM45 with KT66's and Radiospares transformers sometime.
     
  10. Wally

    Wally Telefied Ad Free Member

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    Just as Jimi Hendrix ran his Marshalls in which the second channel was still voice for bass.
     
  11. JBFatFingers

    JBFatFingers Tele-Meister

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    Is there some kind of cheat sheet out there that shows all the different Marshall models, which are reissues or otherwise related to prior/other models, groups them by tone type or gain level, etc.? Sorry, probably a strange question, but I recently got my first Marshall so I started poking around some Marshall boards and FB groups and was quickly overwhelmed by all of the different alphanumeric references.
     
  12. knockeduptele

    knockeduptele Tele-Meister

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    Chuckles - there is always an AC 30 lover in every Marshall discussion (only joking) to throw you off.

    What I find interesting in this thread and Beyer160 sparked this a bit when we had our little Black Sabbath diversion earlier on, but underlying this are the lengths that we now go to using technology to try to recreate what were at the time very primitive sounds made using very primitive equipment and Marshall designs have followed this route.

    On top of that then there is the factor, again ty Mr Beyer, that the sound in your head is actually not what was on the record and certainly not what came out of the amp on the day - mangled but in a way that suited (and turned out nice) with lots of analogue steps in the path
     
  13. muchxs

    muchxs Doctor of Teleocity

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    IMG_1865 (2).JPG
     
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  14. Wally

    Wally Telefied Ad Free Member

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    the Michael Doyle book “The History of Marshall” is a good primer....even though it was published in 1993. It covers all of the bases that interest me from the beginning and into the JCM 900 series....and that series interests me none at all. It gives an overview for: the very beginning and it lays out all of the models that were available in each series.
     
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  15. Dacious

    Dacious Poster Extraordinaire

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    That's an important point. When we say 'JCM900' we're actually talking about a family of amps. Some of which like the Dual Reverbs were cram full of stuff to appeal to pointy headstock schlock rockers, and some that were more basic.

    Like the single input 900s to me can sound awful - if you turn the knobs to metallz.

    But they can also sound like a slightly smoother 800. You can still get that big woody Marshall tone out of them.

    I had a bandmate with a 212 Dual Reverb and he could make it sound pretty good. He never used channel B (his footswitch didn't work).

    Jim Marshall considered the Jubilee and JCM800 split channel amps with diode clipping that followed the most important thing he ever did.

    Like a lot of SF Fenders, a meh sounding amp can be improved just by getting it biased, decent speakers.

    Unfortunately it appears Marshall went down the route of ever higher capacity speakers to try to stave off blown units. I'm not a favour of overspeakering amps by a factor of two or three.

    Often speakers do the amp no favours and are partly responsible for the 'harsh shrill' reputation some 800s and 900s have. If you can run them flat out like Johan does it"s less of an issue. But at lower volumes the speakers stifle the amp IMO. I have a Private Jack in my 4120 - it's transformed it at low volumes over the GT75 that typically came in these.

    And as someone noted earlier, also by association with 'more modern' forms of guitar music us boomers don't appreciate, the 900 has been looked down on. Like a lot of Mesas, there's lots of knobs on them and it's easy to get them wrong.
     
    Last edited: Nov 5, 2019
  16. noah330

    noah330 Friend of Leo's

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    It blows my mind that an 800 is considered great these days. 900 prices are creeping up, the sound of the 90s even though they’re disliked right now until forums catch up.

    I remember opening for the Gin Blossoms in a club in maybe 92 or 93 and they had 900s. I remember Green Day did too as well as tons of hair bands.
     
  17. deytookerjaabs

    deytookerjaabs Friend of Leo's

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    I can remember when an "early" 800 was THE amp to have on the rock scene in the Chicago area in the 90's. It felt like anyone playing venues had one.


    Thing is, with 800's/900's, it was a different time where each dude basically had his own rig of whatever on the front end + the amp. Old pedals, new pedals, digital processors, rack preamps, etc, you name it then add in everything from lace sensors to dimarzio SD pickups etc... Sometimes guys who used this stuff made the effects more famous than the amp.

    But when you think of early Marshalls you think guitar/amp and maybe a little something in the middle so it's a more one & done "classic" setup.
     
  18. muchxs

    muchxs Doctor of Teleocity

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    What- WHAT?

    -I'm- a "pointy headstock schlock rocker". I likes me a good JCM800, yes I do!

    I'm going to unleash my pointy headed Telecaster on an unsuspecting beer and pickup trucks (and Telecasters!) world.

    I've been restoring old Marshalls. And pointy guitars. And my hair is growing back!

    On my knuckles...

    :lol: :lol: :lol:




    I'm with @Wally . There is no life after JCM800.


    While we're at it....

    If you want something to sound "British" run it through Eminence GB128s. They give you that dark thick kinda pissed- off tone.


    HPIM3660 (2).JPG
     
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  19. Dacious

    Dacious Poster Extraordinaire

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    Billie Joe Armstrong in early days used an 800 as did Steve Jones of The Sex Pistols (along with a Silverface Twin Reverb!:eek:). But once Green Day 'made it' he could be seen onstage with the latest Marshalls.

    I agree - seen some great bands playing great music on 900s.

    I almost scooped up a 50 watt 112 recently for almost nothing but beaten to the punch (or crunch).
     
  20. Dacious

    Dacious Poster Extraordinaire

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    Those little 5005 Lead 12s are a great little jigger for recording, just about fit in your back pocket and massive sound.

    I'd have one over a Tech21 any tick of the clock.

    The Private Jack is part of the same series as the Big Ben, CV65 i.e the British sounding Emis.

    As the 4120 has a nice clean and good if not Fender reverb it works well. And - it was cheap!
     
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